Rays End Losing Skid With Nail-Biting Finish

 

ST. PETERSBURG (620 WDAE) -- The Tampa Bay Rays spotted the New York Yankees a 3-0 first inning lead, before coming back to tie the game in the bottom of the same frame, and Tommy Pham's solo home run in the third broke the tie before the Rays held on for a 8-7 win Wednesday at Tropicana Field.

Ryne Stanek opened Wednesday'contest by allowing a base hit to Andrew McCutchen.  He struck out Aaron Judge and Luke Voit, but walked Giancarlo Stanton, allowing Neil Walker to take him deep for his 11th home run of the season, giving New York the lead 3-0.

 

Tampa Bay immediately went to work in the bottom of the first, as Mallex Smith singled to left off Masahiro Tanaka, and almost immediately stole second base.  Matt Duffy drew a walk, and Joey Wendle plated Smith with a base hit.  Tanaka struck out Tommy Pham, but threw away a comebacker off the bat of C.J. Cron that allowed Duffy to come home and make it 3-2.  Kevin kiermaier was hit on the right foot by a Tanaka slider to load the bases, and Willy Adames beat out an infield single to bring in Wendle and tie the game.

 

Pham broke the tie in the third, taking the first pitch of the inning from Tanaka and sending it off the batters' eye in center field for his 21st home run of the year and seventh with Tampa Bay.

 

The Rays saw third baseman Matt Duffy leave in the second inning with quad tightness, while Kiermaier was lifted in the fourth.  The Rays outfielder learned after x-rays that he suffered a hairline fracture of a bone in his right foot and will be done for the season.

Yonny Chirinos (5-5) worked from the second through the fifth inning, escaping a bases-loaded jam in the fifth by getting Giancarlo Stanton to ground into a 5-4-3 double play.

Tampa Bay opened the game up in the bottom of the eighth as Pham walked and scored on a double by Cron.  A passed ball by Sanchez allowed Cron to take third and pinch-runner Andrew Velazquez would score when he beat a throw by Miguel Andujar to the plate to make it 6-3.  Bauers followed with a single that moved Adames to third and the shortstop made it 7-3 on a safety squeeze bunt by Nick Ciuffo.  Smith grounded into a fielder's choice, erasing Ciuffo at second, but a throwing error by Justus Sheffield allowed Bauers to score for an 8-3 advantage.

That last run proved to be crucial, as Sergio Romo, who came on to get the final out of the eighth, walked Sanchez to start the ninth, Brett Gardner singled two batters later and McCutchen's base hit loaded the bases.  Judge then singled in Sanchez, while Luke Voit's base hit brought in both Gardner and McCutchen and Stanton's infoield single plated Judge to make it 8-7.  However, the right-hander got Tyler Wade to fly to Austin Meadows in right and got Andujar to pop out to Wendle in foul territory to end the game and earn his 23rd save.

Thursday's Matchup

Tampa Bay Rays (88-70) vs. New York Yankees (97-61), 1:10 p.m. first pitch, with coverage on WDAE beginning at 12:00 with The Inside Pitch presented by Crown Eurocars.

Rays starter - RHP Jaime Schultz (2-1, 4.55 ERA)

Yankees starter - LHP CC Sabathia (8-7, 3.77 ERA)

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